Friday 27 May 2016

Urban Champion (NES review)

Developer: Nintendo R&D#1
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1984

Urban Champion is a one-on-one fighting game and an adaptation of a 1984 Game & Watch title called Boxing.

It supports 1-2 players and the objective is to push your opponent back two screens and into the manhole. To do this you can attack high or low while using either your quick, yet weak punch (A button), or strong yet slow punch (B button). Incoming punches can be blocked or dodged and you'll also need to avoid falling flower pots that stun you; occasionally cop cars even patrol the area and temporarily freeze both fighters! As a concept, Urban Champion is undeniably simple and how much enjoyment you get from it depends on whether you like uncomplicated, easy to play games. For me, I found the combat to be very enjoyable and in many ways it reminds me of Kung Fu (1985, NES) with its basic, yet loveable action. The controls are responsive and the fine balance between knowing when to attack or counterpunch is great, and ensures that the gameplay never turns into a mindless button masher. It's hilarious when a random police car shows up and the fighters retreat to the side of the screen, pretending nothing's happening! However, it can be a nuisance when you have an opponent towards the screen edge and the cops reset all of your hard work! The game's main flaw is that it does take a long time to become even remotely challenging and only at Round 48 does the CPU starts behaving in a more unpredictable manner. Additional locations would also have helped, as fighting on the same street where the only variance is store names gets old. However, the gameplay really shines with two players as the satisfaction you get from punching your friend into a manhole is awesome!
Urban Champion doesn't have much depth but it's a real guilty pleasure and the simple beat-em-up style is perfect if you're looking for a quick game to enjoy. It's great for multiplayer sessions too and provides lots of laughs regardless of skill level.
Random trivia: In 2011, the game was re-released as part of the 3D Classics range on the Nintendo 3DS.

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